I speak so fast when I’m nervous to the point where it can become difficult for people to understand me. I was very nervous the first time I had to give an important presentation at the workplace. After the presentation, I knew my colleagues were planning to give me feedback, and this made me more nervous. Once the presentation was over, I received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The only negative feedback: I spoke too fast.
It was at that moment that I realized that being nervous about doing a good job led to my nerves getting in my way. I also realized that a lack of confidence and imposter syndrome did nothing but hurt me. Being excited about an opportunity, feeling nervous, and lacking confidence can all lead to falling headfirst into the abyss of imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome won’t make you productive. There’s a dangerous perception that you have to shut imposter syndrome out completely and never let those feelings of doubt or insecurity cross your mind. That’s a rather unfair and unrealistic standard to set – one that can leave you feeling worse when you are struggling with imposter syndrome. It’s okay to doubt yourself sometimes, but it becomes harmful when you let that doubt consume and harm you. For instance, if you’re scrolling through LinkedIn and see your dream job pop up, it’s totally understandable to worry about not being qualified for it, but it’s not okay to choose to not apply because you don’t feel like you deserve your dream job. Don’t let your fear stop you from trying.
Learn to acknowledge your feelings, remind yourself of where these feelings stem from and why you’re ready to move past them. Also, learn to skip the self-fulfilling prophecy. I learned that my fears about doing a bad job in public speaking actually made me do a bad job on many occasions. There are countless ways that imposter syndrome can lead to the exact results you were afraid of. If we tell ourselves we aren’t worthy of an exciting new opportunity, don’t put ourselves out there at networking events, or are afraid to start that business because we’ll never sell a single product, then what will happen? We won’t gain the new opportunity we want so badly, we won’t make any valuable new connections, we won’t ever start that business.
If you succumb to imposter syndrome, you’ll end up with the same results that imposter syndrome makes you feel will come to fruition. What’s the point in giving in instead of taking that shot? We all owe it to ourselves to try. You owe it to yourself to stop letting imposter syndrome be your own worst enemy.
I know that it is easier said than done but whenever imposter syndrome is about to take hold of you, try to remember that you’re a total badass and you’ve got this, no matter what that voice in the back of your head says.